Brainstorming Goals For Your Scenes – Help! Limp Noodle Attack

Here are some great tips that have a big payoff! I know at times I find myself writing something that is more for my benefit than actually furthering the story. I get sidetracked and distracted by it. Remembering these questions helps me stay focused.

Thoughts On Plot

Photo by kenis Photo by kenis

Overcooked pasta can be truly nasty! Mushy, flavored like runny starch, it settles in your stomach like a hairball in a cat. Not the most appetizing dinner.

In our writing we often find our scenes as flat as an overcooked noodle. Why don’t they pop off of the page? Why are they boring? Why does it feel as if nothing is happening in the scene?

Chances are you are under a limp noodle attack.

There are a few things that can make your scenes flat enough to leave a mealy taste in a reader’s mouth. How can you change your scene to have conflict, tension, and readers clamoring for the next scene?

Brainstorming Goals For Your Scenes:

Without definitive goals your scenes will fall flat. You already know about goals and scenes, but you can’t figure out yours? Try brainstorming in this progression:

*Determine if the scene…

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That’s the Salt Life Baby!

What is the salt life?
It’s a term I have been learning on my trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The salt life can be something you do or don’t do. Something you feel or don’t feel. Something you are or something you are not. It is a lifestyle, a way of being. And it is something I am working on.
As I sit here on the boardwalk, ocean breeze on my skin, salt on my lips, sun kissing my face, I feel the salt life trying to settle in. It wants me to embrace it. It has that effect. That pull that is so hard to resist. You don’t want to fight it, so you let it in.
The salt life wants you to relax. Get those shoulders out of your ears, close your eyes and stop furrowing your brow. Let go of your stress and all your worries. Listen to the waves crashing, the children laughing as they build magnificent castles, the squeals of delight as the chilly, salty waves push and pull you.
The salt life wants you to lie in the sun. Plan your days around the time you now deem necessary to spend on the beach. It wants you to breath deeply and savor the fragrance of the sea. It wants you to stare at the moon glistening on the water’s surface. It wants you to bury your toes in the hot sand.
The salt life will tell you that it is perfectly acceptable to spend your days in cut-off jeans and your swimsuit. Wear that big floppy hat and your glamorous shades with pride. And know that flip flop sandals are really the only footwear you require.
The salt life begs you to take a stroll on the sand. Stop and pick up shiny, oddly shaped shells. Roll up your pant legs and have a splash war on the edge of the sea. Your best meal of the day is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that you eat under an umbrella on the shoreline. Bring your sweater or a blanket and spend the evening watching the tide roll in.
The salt life seeps into every part of you. It beckons you to remain and enjoy. It is intoxicating and addictive. It is perfection.
What could be better than remaining on the coast and living the salt life forever?
But alas, we must return to the real world, at least most of us. What we can do, though, is take the salt life with us. We can keep the salt life alive, even when we are far from the sea. Relax, release, and unwind. Remember to stop and breath. Just be. Then you too, are living the salt life.



Going home

I am delighted when I get to make a trip back home to Arkansas for a happy reason. I miss the fresh air, the mountains, the pine trees, the rivers, the lake and most of all the many people there that I love. The dirt roads and little country stores in the middle of nowhere. The supremely curvy roads where there is seldom an opportunity to pass the creeping truck you inevitably seem to get behind when you’re in a hurry. The slower pace that beckons you to slow down with it. When I go back home I always feel welcomed and peaceful. It makes me feel like I can breathe and relax. I can be myself in those woods or discover who I am again if I get confused and lost. There’s just something about the place where I grew up. It’s comforting and intoxicating. It is my happy sanctuary on this earth.

It hasn’t always been that way. For most of my younger years it was the place I desperately wanted to leave. It was the backwards, boring, and lackluster area that seemed to be frozen in time well behind everywhere else. Most of all, it was the place I made some of the biggest mistakes of my life. There, I hurt everyone I loved and that loved me. It was in that place that I slapped away every hand stretched towards me to guide my steps and lead me from danger. It was there, where before it had been so easy to find myself, that I got lost. Then I tucked tail and ran. I ran far and fast, trying to elude the heartache and darkness I had brought upon myself.

But that wasn’t the end of the story and home wasn’t done with me yet.

In a few years I returned. I had created a new life for myself and had a family of my own. Deep inside though, there was still an ache. A shadowed place I hid deep and refused to confront. Something had begun stirring in me though. A flicker of light was trying to dispel the darkness and hurt. And it started to burn brighter when I came home. Not just to that little town in Arkansas and my earthly family, but to the place where my Christian journey began as well. Suddenly home wasn’t just my family and the houses we lived in, the schools I went to or the friends I cherished. Home was deeper. Home was the things I had been taught by parents who shared the Word with us daily. Home was the place I was saved and baptized. Home was Him. The One I had been running from. Suddenly I realized home had come to me. And when it knocked on the door of my heart this time, I finally welcomed it in.

The process of healing and forgiveness was difficult. It took a long time before I accepted His forgiveness and was able to ask forgiveness of others. Even after it was given, there were wounds to heal. But through love and grace, heal we did.

So you see, as much as I love the physical place where I grew up and as much as I enjoy my too seldom visits there, I know now that home is always with me. It is a part of who I am. It is love, laughter, mistakes, tears, forgiveness, grace, healing, and second chances. It’s family and friends. It’s blue lakes and mountains and pine trees. You can run away, you can think you’re leaving it far behind, but home will always find you. It will beckon you back with warm, open arms. And no matter what, you can always, always go home.